I think a lot of you have read or seen The Fault In Our Stars, and this book was the inspiration for my trip to Amsterdam in The Netherlands with my family. I’ve read the book countless times, and the film really touched me, so as a fan it was natural for me to want to visit the place which means so much to Hazel and Gus in the novel. In addition, Amsterdam is a truly wonderful place and it has a certain charm to it; it’s one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited.
We flew out to Amsterdam on 7th April 2015, with the journey lasting not much more than an hour. It was a pleasant flight and we landed at Schiphol Airport, which is about 9km outside Amsterdam, before catching a train to the centre of the city. The first thing that struck me was the sheer beauty of the Central Station; the building is magnificent and in the bright sunlight it looked majestic.
We then decided to explore the city a little just to get a feel for the place, and what really stood out to me was how different the buildings are to those in England; they are very tall and often lean over the street above the canals. For me, this gave the place a magical atmosphere because it was so different to the bland streets of London that I’m used to.
Another thing that became apparent the more time I spent in the city was just how much there is to do; museums of all sorts, art galleries galore and beautiful scenery you can spend all day looking at. As tourists, we knew we couldn’t visit Amsterdam and not go to the Van Gogh Museum. As someone who often gets bored in these sorts of places, I wasn’t very optimistic, however I’ve been dragged around enough art galleries to know a talented artist when I see one, and Van Gogh is just that. We checked the website for the best time to visit, and it suggested in the evening, however when we arrived the queue was still excruciatingly long. Luckily for us we had booked FastPass tickets which allowed us to jump the line, and I think this is a must if you are visiting Amsterdam and want to see everything that it has to offer. The artwork itself was breathtaking and I’m glad I gave the Museum a chance because it is something I’m never likely to see again.
Whilst we’re on the topic of queuing, sometimes you just can’t avoid it; take the Anne Frank Huis, for instance. It opens at 9am, however we arrived an hour earlier in the hope of being one of the first in line. Truth be told, there were perhaps already a hundred people (probably more) before us, and the queue snaked round the nearby houses. In total we waited about 2 hours before we actually entered the building, however it was all worth it. At school we briefly covered Anne Frank’s story, but actually being in the room she had to hide in is something I will never ever forget. Out of all the places I visited in Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House was my favourite because of how surreal it felt to be standing where she once stood. My only piece of advice is that if you don’t like queueing, this probably isn’t for you.
Chinese Restaurant on the 17th Century Canal Ring
Another of the places I was dying to visit was Amsterdam Zoo; I love seeing exotic animals and zoos are some of my favourite places to visit. The zoo itself is not right in the heart of the city, so we had to walk for a while to get there, but honestly it was totally worth it. If the wide variety of animals on show doesn’t please you, then my god the restaurant was fabulous! On the day we went the sun was out in full force, and the food served was truly stunning. I would definitely recommend a visit to the zoo, not only for the animals but the food also.
Finally, I’m moving on to what I like to call General City Things. Yes, I know, the title can be improved on, but it covers everything. This includes the little details which make Amsterdam so unique; the Red Light District, for example. Let me warn you, don’t go there at night if you’re young like me, but during the day it wasn’t too bad. Another thing I’d like to bring to your attention is the Cannabis Cafés; the drug is (somewhat) legal in the city and these places are hard to miss.
I know it’s of awful quality but I did actually take this one
Another thing which makes Amsterdam unique is the abundance of bicycles; there are literally everywhere. And I mean everywhere. If you’re looking to live in the city then getting yourself a decent bike is a must, and as a tourist be careful to watch out for them. They appear out of nowhere.
Finally, although I’ve barely covered everything, I just want to mention the glorious canals; they honestly make the place so much more majestic and charming. If you’ve got time, make sure to go on a canal tour; not only do they allow you to experience and learn about the canals, but you also get to see parts of the city you never knew existed.
This marks the end of my first official travel post. I do hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my trip to Amsterdam, and if you did find it useful/inspiring please leave a like and a comment as I really appreciate them. If you’ve got questions, drop them in the comments section and give me a follow if you want to learn more about my teenstravels.
NEXT POST: ITALY 2015